NBCUniversal has cast transgender actress Josie Totah in the lead role of its upcoming Saved by the Bell reboot headed to the Peacock streaming service. She will also be a producer on the series. Totah stars as Lexi, who is described as “a beautiful, sharp-tongued cheerleader and the most popular girl at Bayside High who is both admired and feared by her fellow students,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The reboot is being developed by Great News creator Tracey Wigfield. The series is expected to debut on Peacock later this year, with original series stars Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley reprising their roles as A.C. Slater and Jessie Spano, respectively.
The series is being developed as a half-hour, single-camera comedy. The revival imagines a world where original Saved by the Bell lead character Zack Morris (played in the original series by Mark Gosselaar) becomes Governor of California. Gov. Morris finds himself in political trouble after closing too many low-income schools. To solve the problem, he proposes that those low-income students be sent to higher-performing schools in the state, such as Bayside High.
Totah’s credits include a starring role in Mindy Kaling’s Champions, which was also an NBC Universal production. Her other credits include appearances in Netflix’s No Good Nick, Amazon’s Good People, and the Sony Pictures film Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The new Saved by the Bell series was picked up straight to series for Peacock in September. It is produced by Universal Television. Wigfield will serve as the project’s showrunner. She’s also an executive producer, with original Saved by the Bell creator Peter Engel and her Great News collaborator Franco Bario. Lopez and Berkley will also receive producer credits.
John Michael Higgins has also been cast in the series. He’ll play the beleaguered principal of Bayside High, Principal Toddman.
In September, Gosselaar said he hadn’t been approached about the reboot but remains open to the idea of reprising his original series role. "I read it in the trades just like everybody else this morning," Gosselaar said. "Honestly, I was never approached. I haven't been approached and I woke up to the news this morning with a 'huh' kind of response… I'll allow them to talk first before I say, but yes, I've always been interested, yeah, of course.”
Peacock is set to launch in April. Saved by the Bell is expected to debut sometime in the summer. Other announced Peacock projects include a new Battlestar Galactica series from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail. More details about the streaming service are expected to be revealed during the NBCUniversal investor presentation on January 16th.